Emma Reilly, Prince's Trust Shop Opening. Emma is deep in conversation with HRH Prince Charles

From Social Phobic to the Prince’s Right Hand Gal (slight exageration there) to Innovation Addict.

My name is Emma.

I am a Product Manager, UX designer and Innovator from the UK.

My fascination with innovation began when I was a child when my parents bought me a generalised Lego set (well before the days of themed sets). The thought of designing something brand new and building it out of these little colourful bricks was truly exciting…

When my bedroom door wouldn’t stay open, I made a door stop. When I kept losing pencils, I made a pencil holder.

These basic designs were everything to me and fuelled my passion for solving problems with new ideas.

Despite a rather unfortunate period of self-imposed social isolations (due to a severe social phobia), I became profiicent at graphic design and building websites. These self-taught skills led me to starting my own business in 2011 thanks to the support of the Prince’s Trust. I worked with small startups, right through to big corporates on a mixture of tech and design projects. My favourites were always when a company would say ‘we need to do X and we’re not sure how’. Those were the projects I thrived on.

In 2018 I came up with the initial idea of a new type of mental health app; one which would use AI to help peers support each other through times of need. I chose a co-founder (more on that in a future blog) and we set about creating Discova (formerly Myndr).

Discova went on to work with clients such as Homegroup. The Ministry of Defence, The RAF and several SMEs. We were one of just a handful of businesses to win an Innovate UK smart grant in early 2021 which catapullted our development forward. We were on the verg of securing a £500,000 equity investment with several investors when things went badly wrong between myself and my co-founder. We closed the company in April 2021.

I’ve since worked as a product manager for one of the largest niche tech recruiters in the United States.

More recently I have started consulting on open innovation projects.

In my free time you’ll still find me tinkering with Lego… I have about 100+ large scale sets and counting. I tell people they’re a better investment than gold.

I’m also an avid nature lover, aspring photographer and writer. I published my first book, The No-Code Startup in February 2024. It became an Amzon Bestseller on it’s first day of publication. You can buy it here.

Quick Timeline

1981: Born in Newcastle upon Tyne

1999 – 2004: Suffered extreme social anxiety disorder but obtained a degree in Media Production from University of Northumbria despite being housbound outside studies.

2005: Started an e-commerce store on osCommerce called Studentcribs.com. Knew nothing (zero!) about marketing so sold the business on.

2006: Started getting really good at designing websites but did it for own pleasure (and building X-Files fan sites).

2009: Got my first job in marketing. Terrible boss, left after 3 weeks.

2011: Decided I needed to make a real go off this Entrepreneurship thing so joined the Prince’s Trust Enterprise Program. Launched my own graphic design business.

2012: Started working with brands like the Children’s Heart Unit Fund (Chuf), Endemol, Crown Bingo, Newcastle Eagles Basketball and The Prince’s Trust.

2013 – 2014: Decided to get over my fear of public speaking by becoming a Prince’s Trust Young Ambassador. Was keynote speaker at Alnwick Castle for the Duke of Northumberland and several other major donor events. Spoke to 00’s of young entreprneurs, sharing my story.

2015: Won Young Ambassador of the Year Award in London from then then HRH Prince Charles.

2016: Was asked to launch a t-shirt range in the new Prince’s Trust London store. Was invited to be at the opening alongside Rod Stewart.

2018: Saw a gap in the market for a new type of mental health app powered by AI (before AI was popular). Chose a co-founder and joined the Ignite Accelerator in Newcastle.

2019: Unable to code and despite having no product, we got our first corporate customer who paid us £xx,xxx so that we would build alongside their employees.

2020: Won an elusive £350,000 from Innovate UK to develop Discova (formerly Myndr). Worked with customers including the Ministry of Defence (JHub) and British Royal Airforce. Won tonnes of startup awards.

2021: Just about to close a £500k VC investment when founder fall out ended our company.

2021: Became Product Manager for R2 Global Ltd, one of the leading niche tech recruiters in the US. Was in charge of developing new recruitment innovations.

2023: After becoming addicted to no-code (Bubble in particular) I wrote a book called ‘The No-Code Startup”.

2024: The No-Code Startup was published by Practical Inspirational Publishing and became a bestseller on Amazon on Day One (knocking Bill Gates from the top spot!).

2024: Became a freelance consultant and fractional CPO and started this blog.